Delone Catholic senior fullback Landen Eckert is a big kid, and he’s not afraid of contact. In fact, he looks for it when he’s carrying the ball.
Eckert punished Littlestown defenders all night with his physical running in leading the Squires to a 24-13 victory in YAIAA-3 football action Friday night at J.T. Flaherty Field in McSherrystown.
For the evening, Eckert carried the ball 15 times for 125 yards and two rushing scores, while also adding a catch for 34 yards and another trip to the end zone.
“I play old-school football, ground and pound and run people over,” Eckert said. “I’m looking to run through defenders and if you can take me down, good job.”
A pair of memorable moments by Eckert both came on scoring plays, the first late in the second quarter when he caught a short pass from quarterback Ryder Noel and turned up field. He immediately stepped through a tackle, then stiff-armed a defender to the ground, spun off another before running through yet another tackle on his way to the end zone to put the Squires ahead, 14-13, with 1:09 left in the half.
Delone (2-3, 2-0) began the fourth quarter still clinging to that one-point lead with the ball at Littlestown’s 32-yard line.
Eckert took the handoff and went up the middle, shook off a tackler a few yards past the line of scrimmage before cutting to the left. He broke a tackle at the 15-yard line and went in for a score to give the hosts some breathing room.
“Landen is exactly what we needed on this team,” Delone head coach Corey Zortman said. “He’s getting more comfortable with the offense every week, he compliments our other backs (Coltyn Keller and Dylan Staub) and he’ll run people over.”
For their parts, Keller carried 11 times for 102 yards, while Staub toted the rock 13 times for 71 stripes. As a team, Delone rushed for 310 yards on 43 tries.
“We wouldn’t have run the ball nearly as well as we did tonight without our offensive line,” Zortman said. “They were great tonight and they never get enough credit. They only get blame when we don’t play well and that’s not fair to them. They deserve credit when we run the ball well, too.”
The ensuing drive for Littlestown stalled out at the Delone 45 with just under ten minutes left and the Bolts chose to punt.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Delone ate up the next seven minutes and put the game out of reach when Justin Emeigh made a field goal from 18 yards out with 2:46 to go to produce the final outcome.
Littlestown (0-5, 0-2) scored the first touchdown of the contest when it took over following Caleb Unger’s interception at the Delone 30, and went five plays to paydirt with Nate Holt doing the honors when he crashed in from a yard out. The key play of the drive was Holt’s 22-yard gain on a pass from Xavier Benner.
Delone had an immediate answer and knotted things at 7-7 when Eckert bulled his way in from five yards out with 4:05 left in the opening frame. The drive took two-and-a-half minutes and the Squires covered 69 yards in six plays, all runs.
The Bolts then slapped together an epic, 19-play, 70-yard march that ate up almost eleven minutes and spanned the quarter break. The cranked out five first downs on the foray.
Caden Rankin’s 1-yard touchdown plunge pushed Littlestown ahead, 13-7, at the 5:25 mark of the second quarter.
“We played a good first half last week against York Catholic and again tonight,” Littlestown head coach Mike Lippy said. “We’re 0-5 now and we’ve got five games left in our season. We played with a lot of heart and desire tonight and we’re going to do our best to have the best season that we can have the rest of the way.”
Delone responded with a 9-play, 83-yard drive that ended on Eckert’s catch-and-run for the score.
“We’ve had trouble with responding when things didn’t go our way this season,” Zortman said. “We did that twice tonight and I’m proud of the way our kids answered.”
Eckert, who was a first-team YAIAA-3 selection a year ago at York Catholic, will get to face his old team in Week 9.
“I’m friends with guys over there, but there hasn’t been a lot of talk,” Eckert said. “This is definitely more of a family than that was.”
Littlestown hosts a York Tech outfit that’s also winless next week. Meanwhile, Delone is slated to play at Biglerville, though the Canners have had their last two games wiped out due to Covid-19.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Littlestown 7 6 0 0 — 13
Delone Catholic 7 7 0 10 — 24
L-Nate Holt 1 run (Zyan Herr kick) 6:36
DC-Landen Eckert 5 run (Justin Emeigh kick) 4:05
L-Caden Rankin 1 run (kick failed) 5:25
DC-Eckert 34 pass from Ryder Noel (Emeigh kick) 1:21
DC-Eckert 32 run (Emeigh kick) 11:50
DC-Emeigh 18 FG 2:46
First Downs 7 18
Rushes-Yards 27-45 43-310
Passing 6-17-1 3-5-1
Passing Yards 84 65
Total Yards 129 375
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties 0-0 6-55
Punts 3-27.0 0-0.0
Rushing: L-Kurtis Shifflett 12-25, Holt 9-10, Rankin 4-8, Xavier Benner 2-2; DC-Eckert 15-125, Coltyn Keller 11-102, Dylan Staub 13-71, Noel 2-6, Artem Reichart 2-6.
Passing: L-Benner 6-17-84-1; DC- Noel 3-5-65-1.
Receiving: L-Herr 3-42, Holt 2-35, Bryson Lookingbill 1-7; DC-Eckert 1-34, Keller 1-23, Staub 1-8.